Starting a newsletter

One of the best ways to keep all members of your campaign in the loop the old fashioned way is through a newsletter. While blogs are great for getting the word out on events, newsletters have made a comeback during protests that last more than a day. The same principle can be applied to online newsletters that supporters can subscribe to through your campaign's website.
This guide includes how to:

Form a committee
Figure out a name
Get all the details right
Create content
Print or subscribe

Committee

It's come up in conversations and people agree, a newsletter would work well for your campaign. Don't let the enthusiasm fizzle out! As soon as people seem interested, start organizing. The first step is setting a date to meet and figure out who wants to do what. Try to make the meeting open to anyone: make sure the venue is accessible, arrange childcare, offer snacks and hold it at a time that works best for everyone who goes to school during the day or is employed. The first meeting will be about deciding what you want to be (informational, investigative or links to other articles about specific issues), how you want to operate and, of course, what you want to be called.

What's in a name?

Finding a name is harder than it sounds. You don't want it to be too overtly political and alienate the average member of the community. Take a cue from the name of your campaign or organization; it doesn't have to be entirely different. Making your calling card local and specific to the community can also help you garner attention.

Details

Thinking of a name is fun but don't forget what the meeting is really about. Get the group refocused on the basics of your newsletter and questions like:

How often will it come out?
How long will it be?
Who will you send it to?
How will you make it more accessible? (larger font, accessible to screen readers)
What sections will it have? (ie news, events, etc)
And what will the content be?

Creating content

It's important to decide what the main function of your newsletter will be, updates, news or links. From there you can find content in everything your campaign does. Ask participants for pictures, poems, or artwork and print your call for submissions. Keep up with local news. What do municipal authorities say (or don't say) about issues affecting your campaign and community? Opinion pieces, editorials and interviews can add a lot to a newsletter. Reach out to other groups working for similar goals and print articles in solidarity. Humour can be a great tool but beware of making comments about individuals not in positions of public authority, as that can be libellous. Use satire, cartoons and puns to get your political message out.

To print or subscribe

Printing can be costly. Try using paper from recycle bins that might have something else on the back if you have a one page newsletter, print on both side if your newsletter is longer. How many copies you put out depends on your community, but try to guess as close as you can and distribute at local cafes, community centres and universities.

If you publish online, set up a separate email account that sends out your newsletter regularly. Someone has to be in charge of this though it can be rotational.

 

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